May 03 2013

E-Cigs Give Us the Vapors!

New York-The Standard Lab

Tired of stepping out for smoke breaks, and inspired by Lewis Lapham, we decided to investigate the ever-expanding range of disposable e-cigs crowding up bodega counters across the city. We skipped all the fruity flavors, and even the menthols, going straight for traditional faux-tobacco flavor. Here's what we found ...

"Vapor is the New Smoke"

Packaging: Similar to those random impulse items they stock in the center aisles at Bed Bath & Beyond.
Verisimilitude: More cigarillo than cigarette, it feels like you're holding a piece of leadened chalk. The flashy blue tip doubles as a dork siren.
Flavor Zone: Smokey with notes of chocolate, strangely. If Willy Wonka's factory exploded, we imagine this is what the sickly sweet smoke would taste like. Of all the ones we tested, though, it packed the most vapor per puff.
Price Tag: $11.99
Overall: 3 puffs out of 5

OneJoy by NJOY
"Cigarettes: You've Met Your Match"

Packaging: An artsy, mini Toberlone-like prism.
Verisimilitude: The brown filter lends some realness, but it's cartoonishly large and considerably heavier than a genuine lung dart.
Flavor Zone: The least flavorful of the lot, it tastes like ... air. Or, almost air. Dirty air? It also requires a mighty suck to get a satisfying haul.
Price Tag: $10.99
Overall: 2 puff out of 5

"The Most Amazing Thing About This Cigarette? It Isn't One"

Packaging: The product of extensive market research, the box resembles an old-school half pack, with Marlboro-esque graphics. It also has a satisfyingly clicky little flip top, like a Zippo.
Verisimilitude: A smidge longer than a P-funk, it's the realest of the bunch. The cherry even glows the right shade of red. What it really nails, though, is the weight. It's nice and light and squishy, like a real smoke. You don't often think about it, but the weight of a cigarette is crucial to how it's held — how glamorously it dangles from the lip just so.
Flavor Zone: All that research seems to have paid off. Though there are traces of hookah, the rich flavor packs an extra little punch that reminds us of the real stuff.
Price Tag: $9.99
Overall: 4 puffs out of 5

"Feel the Difference, Use Your Logic"

Packaging: "Cheap is cheap," as our mother would say. It's sold in two pieces that need to be screwed together, like the world's tiniest pool cue.
Verisimilitude: There isn't any. It looks like a pen.
Flavor Zone: Has a chocolate graham cracker finish. Or, more succinctly, Golden Grahams mixed with Cinnamon Toast Crunch with a dash of rubber. Mmmmm ... no.
Price Tag: $10.99
Overall: 1 puff out of 5